More than a year after the abuse of her then six-year-old special needs son by his former therapist, Safirah Oshin has turned to social media to fight for her son’s abuse. This is because Ms Safirah felt that her son deserves justice as no charges were pressed against the therapist, besides her being sacked.
In her Facebook post on 30 June 2020, Ms Safirah uploaded footage of a female therapist from AutismSTEP conducting a one and the half hour home Applied Behavioural Analysis therapy session on 29 March 2019 with her son, Ali. The mother says he has autism and ADHD.
In that footage, it showed the therapist shoving her son’s hand into his mouth forcefully multiple times, and he could be heard screaming and gagging while he resisted.
After lodging a police report that same night, she only found out about the outcome of the police’s investigations when she called to follow-up in August 2019. She was informed that the therapist (which the company had dismissed) only received a verbal warning with no further action taken.
Ms Sarifah has appealed for the case to be reopened and was successful in her efforts in January 2020. However, there had been no developments in the investigation thus far.
The company has also publicly posted a statement on this matter on 1 July after this video was posted, saying it has been in touch with the family’s legal representatives last year to discuss “refund or recompense matters”.
However, there have been discrepancies in the versions of events between the mother and AutismSTEP. In a Facebook comment on 1 July, AutismSTEP said that Ms Safirah has “demanded from the company monetary compensation”.
On the contrary, she said she only wanted a refund of the fees back then and not compensation. She claimed that the company only offered to settle “in response to the video being posted”. She has received no payment from them yet.
At about noon on 3 July, Ms Safirah called on the authorities again to pursue justice for her son.
Desmond Lee, who was the Minister for Social and Family Development before Parliament was dissolved for GE2020, has also publicly announced that they will look into the matter.